Shakespeare For White Trash: The Comedy of Errors

May 5, 2011

(Index to the Series appears on Oct. 7, 2010 — )

Main Characters

Solinus — Duke of Ephesus

Egeon — a merchant of Syracuse

Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse — twin sons of Egeon, separated in infancy.  (These will be designated in the text as Antipholus E. and Antipholus S.)

Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse — twin brothers, also separated in infancy and servants to Antipholus E. and Antipholus S.  (These will be designated in the text as Dromio E. and Dromio S.)

Emilia — Abbess of Ephesus and long-lost wife of Egeon

Adriana — wife of Antipholus E.

Luciana — Adriana’s sister

Luce — Adriana’s maid

Balthasar — merchant

Two Merchants (unnamed)

Angelo — goldsmith

Dr. Pinch — exorcist

Courtesan (female innkeeper)

Nell — wife of Dromio E. and servant in the household  (Nell never appears.  In this version, she and Luce are two different persons.  In some versions, Nell and Luce are the same person, referred to by two names.)

Gist of the story: Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse, has been arrested in Ephesus because of bad relations between the two towns.  He has been searching for his son Antipholus and servant Dromio, who left Syracuse seven years before to search for their twins, also named Antipholus and Dromio, and their mother, Emilia, from whom they were separated in a shipwreck when all four twins were babies.  The brothers from Syracuse never came back, but by chance they have come to Ephesus, where their twins have been settled for some time.  Absurd complications arise when the twins, who look exactly alike and have the same names, are mistaken for each other.  The play ends happily when all the twins and parents are reunited.  (This is pretty low comedy compared to Shakespeare’s other comedies, but it’s still quite funny.  Shakespeare used the device of mistaken identity in other plays, most notably Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew, which you can also read in this series.  The only memorable line in the original Comedy of Errors is “He must have a long spoon that must eat with the devil” (Act 4, Scene 3).  This was borrowed in the movie Inherit the Wind, when Gene Kelly says, “He that sups with the devil must have a long spoon.”  Of course, you won’t find that line in this version, but you will find a few that Shakespeare would have approved of.)

Act 1, Scene 1.  In Ephesus, a town on the west coast of what is now Turkey.  Solinus, the Duke of Ephesus, comes in with Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse (a town in Sicily), plus the Jailer and Attendants.

Egeon: Go ahead, Duke.  Execute me and put an end to my misery.

Duke: You know why you’re being executed, Egeon.  You’re from Syracuse, and you’re forbidden to be here in Ephesus. It was your Duke who executed some of our merchants when they went there to do business.  They couldn’t pay the ransom money for their lives, so he killed them.  And now we’re doing the same to merchants from Syracuse.  I mean, where does your Duke get off doing that to Ephesus?  We’re in the Bible.  Syracuse isn’t.  Saint Paul wrote us an epistle, but he didn’t even send your people a post card.  Now, your ransom is set at one thousand marks, and if you can’t pay it, you’re dead.  That’s our law.  And frankly, judging from what you’ve got, I don’t think you can pay it.

Egeon: I didn’t come to Ephesus on business.

Duke: Then why did you come?

Egeon: It’s a long story–and a very sad one.

Duke: I’m willing to listen.  Tell me.

Egeon: Many years ago I was called away from Syracuse while my wife was pregnant.  I was in Epidamnum.  My wife insisted on joining me, and that’s where she gave birth to our twin sons.  And by coincidence, a poor woman also gave birth to twin boys on the same day.  She couldn’t care for them, so we agreed to adopt them as companions and servants to our sons.  Then my wife wanted to go home, so all off us got on a ship.  On the way back, we sailed into a storm.  The crew deserted us in the lifeboats.  My wife tied herself and one of our sons and one of the adopted boys to a mast, and I tied myself and our other son and the other adopted boy to another mast.  The sea was carrying us toward Corinth.  Then the storm ended, and we saw two fishing boats coming toward us.  And then what do you think happened?

Duke (Deadpan): Suddenly a pirate ship loomed on the horizon.

Egeon: No.

Duke: A sea serpent appeared.

Egeon: No.

Duke: You realized your luggage was on another boat.

Egeon: No.

Duke: I’m kidding.  So what happened?

Egeon: Our ship hit a big rock and broke in half.

Duke: Huh!  Not bad.  I like that.

Egeon: We were still tied to our masts.

Duke: Why didn’t you untie yourselves when the storm ended?

    (Egeon reacts as if the other player has departed from the script and has taken him by surprise.)

Egeon: Uh–I–well–I don’t know.

Duke: It’s okay.  (A sideways look at the audience) We’re suspending our disbelief.  So continue.

Egeon: One boat picked up my wife and those two boys, and the other boat picked me up with the other two boys.  The boat that picked up my wife sailed away in the direction of Corinth, and I never saw any of them again.  The boat that picked me up took us home to Syracuse.  You see, the men knew me and wanted to be nice to me.–Isn’t this a sad story?

Duke: Well–it’s somewhat sad.  But mainly it’s weird.  So go on.  I want to hear the end of it.

Egeon: Yes.  Well, those events happened many years ago.  When my son turned eighteen, he wanted to leave Syracuse to search for his twin brother.  And his servant wanted to search for his twin brother, too.  Our sons were given the same name, by the way, and the poor twins were also given the same name.

Duke: Why? 

Egeon: Oh–I–I don’t know–we just–

Duke: Never mind.  Go on.

Egeon: Yes.  Well, you see, my son and his servant never came back.  And for the last five years I’ve been searching for them all over.  I just happened to be here for that reason–either to find them or at least learn some news about them.  If I knew that they were alive at least, I’d have some relief for my broken heart.  I could face death.  I’m an old man anyway, and all alone.

Duke: Tsk! Tsk!  Poor guy.  I really feel for you.  That’s the saddest story I’ve ever heard–implausible but still sad.  I’d pardon you if I could, but we have our laws.  You can understand that.–However, I’ll give you a chance to save your life.  I’ll give you a day to try to raise the money.  If there’s anyone in Ephesus who’s willing to pay a thousand marks for your ransom, that’s fine with me.  Otherwise–well–

Egeon: I don’t know anyone here.

Duke: Hey, if a bunch of guys in a fishing boat know you, maybe somebody here knows you.

Egeon: Well–

Duke: Jailer, lock him up.

Jailer: Yes, your Grace.

    (They leave.)

Act 1, Scene 2.  Antipholus S. and Dromio S. come in with a Merchant.

Merchant: Listen, don’t tell anyone you’re from Syracuse, or your goods will be confiscated for ransom.  Just today, in fact, some fellow from Syracuse got arrested, and he’s going to be executed if he doesn’t come up with a thousand marks.  Just say you’re from Epidamnum.  Anyway, here’s the money you asked me to hold for you.

    (He gives Antipholus S. a bag of gold.)

Antipholus S: Thank you.–Dromio, take this to the Centaur and wait for me.  (He hands him the bag.)  I’ll be there for lunch.  But first I want to do a bit of sight-seeing.

Dromio S: Right, boss.  I’ll run away to Greece and have a good time with this.–Just kidding, ha, ha.

    (Dromio S. leaves.)

Antipholus S: My servant has a sense of humour.  So, why don’t you come along with me and then we can have lunch together at the Centaur.

Merchant: I’d love to, but I have a business meeting.

Antipholus S: All right.  I’ll just wander around then.

Merchant: Enjoy yourself.

    (The Merchant leaves.)

Antipholus S: Enjoy myself–huh!  If only.  For years I’ve been searching for my twin brother and my mother.  If I could just find them–

    (Dromio E. comes in.)

Antipholus S: What?  Are you back so soon?

Dromio E: What do you mean?  I’ve been out looking for you.  Madam is waiting for you to come home for lunch, and she’s very annoyed and she’s taking it out on me.

Antipholus S: Madam?  Madam who?

Dromio E: Your wife, of course.

Antipholus S: Ha, ha, very funny.  Where’s the money I gave you?

Dromio E: What money?  You mean the sixpence you gave me last week?  I already spent that on candy.

Antipholus S: Now quit joking.  I need that money.  We’re strangers here in Ephesus.

Dromio E: Strangers in Ephesus?  Sir, you’re the one who’s joking.  Now please come home.  I promised madam I’d find you and bring you back in time for lunch.

Antipholus S: Will you cut out this madam crap!  I don’t have any wife.  Now what did you do with the gold?

Dromio E: Gold?

Antipholus S: The gold I gave you for safekeeping.

Dromio E: You didn’t give me any gold.

Antipholus S: There was a thousand marks in gold in that bag, so quit fucking with me and tell me where it is!

Dromio E: I don’t know anything about any gold.  Your wife is waiting for you at the Phoenix, and you’re supposed to come home for lunch. [Author’s note: places of business and residence were often combined, so the name of the shop or business also refers to home.  The name Porcupine is used the same way later.]

Antipholus S: I am not in the mood for jokes!  (He slaps Dromio E. several times.)

Dromio E: Ow!–Don’t hit me!–I’m leaving.  Christ, what a temper.

    (Dromio E. leaves.)

Antipholus S: He must have lost my money.  That must be it.  Probably got fleeced by some con artist.  This town’s supposed to be full of them.  That’s what I’ve heard.  Crooks, witches, sorcerers, gypsies, people claiming to be homeless.  If that’s the way it is here in Ephesus, I’m not staying very long.–I gotta get back to the Centaur and see if my money’s there.

    (He leaves.) 

Act 2, Scene 1.  At the Phoenix (home and place of business of Antipholus E.).  His wife, Adriana, comes in with her sister, Luciana.

Adriana: Where’s my husband?  Where’s Dromio?  It’s two o’clock.

Luciana: Don’t worry about it, Adriana.  Maybe he met another merchant and they went off to have lunch.

Adriana: I hate it when he does that.  I want him home for lunch.

Luciana: Sister, men come and go when they please.  They’re the boss.  You just have to put up with it.  You should be patient and obedient.

Adriana: Patient and obedient!  That’s why you’re still single, Luciana.  You’re too meek.

Luciana: No, that’s not the reason.

Adriana: Then what is?

Luciana: It’s because of–you know–the sex thing.

Adriana: What sex thing?

Luciana: You know.–Men have, like, penises and stuff.

Adriana: They certainly do.  That’s where their brains are.  And that’s why they’re unfaithful.

Luciana: Oh, well–I suppose I’ll get married someday.  But obedience comes before love.

Adriana: You think so?

Luciana: Well, what I mean is, a woman may not be in love when she marries, but if she’s obedient, the love will grow.

Adriana: It’s easy for you to preach obedience.  You don’t have to deal with a husband.  What would you do if your husband cheated on you?

Luciana: I would just be patient.

Adriana: Patient!  Ha!  Patience is not the way, and you’ll find that out.

Luciana: Oh–here comes Dromio.

    (Dromio E. comes in.)

Adriana: Did you find your master?  Is he coming?

Dromio E: Yes and no.

Adriana: What do you mean?

Dromio E: Yes, I found him.  No, he’s not coming.  And he smacked me.

Adriana: What for?

Dromio E: I hardly know how to explain it.  He was acting very strangely.  He was ranting about a bag of gold.  He said he gave it to me for safekeeping.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  I told him you wanted him home for lunch, and he said he didn’t know who “madam” was.  He said he didn’t have any wife.

Adriana (To Luciana): You see what I have to put up with?  And you expect me to be patient?  (To Dromio E.)  You go right back and find him and bring him home.

Dromio E: He’ll just hit me again.

Adriana: I’ll hit you if you don’t go.  Now go and get him.

Dromio E: Oh, God.  Everyone wants to hit me.  Between the two of you, I’ll end up crippled or dead.

    (He leaves.)

Luciana: Tsk!–Sister, this is all wrong.  You have to be patient.

Adriana: I can just imagine where he is now.   Probably having a toss in bed with some slut.  And I cook and clean for him, and what do I get?  Not even a smile.  He makes me feel old and ugly.  And if I am, it’s his fault.  He made me that way.

Luciana: Oh, now–

Adriana: A wife deserves better treatment than I get.  Someone else is getting what I should be getting.

Luciana: You shouldn’t have jealous thoughts like that.  It’s bad for you.

Adriana: He promised to buy me a necklace and he didn’t.  He doesn’t love me any more.  He’s out with some whore–someone sexier and prettier than me!  (She starts to cry.)

Luciana: Oh, Adriana.

    (They leave.)

Act 2, Scene 2.  On the street.  Antipholus S. comes in.

Antipholus S: Okay, so my gold is safe after all.  It’s at the Centaur.  And the innkeeper says that Dromio is out looking for me.

    (Dromio S. comes in.)

Antipholus S: Well, I hope you’ve gotten over your strange mood.  Or was it temporary insanity?

Dromio S: Me?  What do you mean?

Antipholus S: Pretending you didn’t know about the money.  And all that bullshit about my wife wanting me home for lunch at the Phoenix.  Some joker you are.

Dromio S: You don’t have a wife.

Antipholus S: Of course, I don’t have a wife.  But you pretended I did.

Dromio S: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Antipholus S: Oh, you don’t, eh?  Well, take that, smart-ass! 

    (He smacks Dromio S.)

Dromio S: Ow!–What’s that for?

Antipholus S: For taking advantage of my liberality.  The only reason I allow you to be so familiar with me and joke around is because we grew up together.  But sometimes you step out of line with me.  (Dromio S. cries out in response to the following series of slaps.)  Never (Slap)–joke (Slap)–about (Slap)–my (Slap)–fucking (Slap)–money! (Slap)

    (A pause.)

Dromio S: I shall have to buy something for myself–if you don’t object.

Antipholus S: Not at all.  What do you want to buy?

Dromio S: A helmet with spikes on it.

    (Adriana and Luciana come in.)

Adriana (Angrily): There you are!–Don’t look at me like that.  I’m your wife.  You used to love me.  You used to tell me I was hot.  You used to buy me presents.  You used to compliment me on my cooking.  And now you treat me like a nuisance.  You’re screwing other women, aren’t you?  Don’t deny it.  A woman always knows.  How would you like it if I cheated on you?  You wouldn’t.  So stop treating me like this and be a proper husband.

Antipholus S: I’m sorry, madam, but I don’t know you.  I just got to town.

Luciana: Shame on you, Antipholus!  (Antipholus S. reacts with shock to his name being spoken.)  Why didn’t you come home for lunch?  She sent Dromio to fetch you.

Dromio S: Me?

Luciana: Of course, you.

Dromio S: Madam, we just arrived in Ephesus today.

Adriana: Oh, stop!  A while ago you were complaining that he hit you.  He did hit you, didn’t he?

Dromio S: Well–yes, actually.

Antipholus S. (To Dromio S.): Did you talk to this woman?

Dromio S: No.  I never saw her before.

Antipholus S: Then why did you tell me to come home for lunch before?

Dromio S: What?  I never told you that.

Antipholus S: How do they know our names?

Dromio S: I don’t know.

Antipholus S. (To Adriana and Luciana): What are you, psychic?  Or are you witches?

Dromio S. (Terrifed): Witches!

Adriana: Oh, stop this game, both of you!

Antipholus S (Aside to the audience): Am I dreaming all this, or what?  Are these people crazy?  What are they?–I’d better just humour them.  I don’t want to start a big scene out here on the street.  We’re not even supposed to be in Ephesus.

Luciana: Dromio, go back and tell the servants to get lunch ready.

Adriana: If the meat is dried out by now, you’ll eat it anyway.

Dromio S. (Looking up at heaven): Holy mother of God, protect us from witches!

Luciana: What are you going on about?  Go home and do as you’re told, you idiot.

Dromio S: Master, have I lost my mind?  You did hit me on the head.

Antipholus S: But nobody hit me on the head.

Dromio S: That’s right.–Then this is really happening.  Master, don’t let the witches get me.  They’ll put me into a pot and boil me.  They’ll turn me into a newt.

Antipholus S: Swear to me that you’re not playing an elaborate joke on me.  You really don’t know them?

Dromio S: It’s no joke.  I don’t know them.

Antipholus S: Then they must be witches.  How else could they know our names?

Adriana: Enough of this foolishness!  You’re both coming home at once.–Husband, I’m going to find out what you’ve been up to.–And you, Dromio, will stay by the front door and keep visitors away.  The master will not be available.

Dromio S. (Aside to Antipholus S.): Be careful what they feed you.  You don’t know what’s in it.

Adriana: Come on, Dromio.  Move your butt or I’ll give you a worse beating than your master gave you.

Dromio S: Oh, God!

    (They leave, with the women leading the men, who exchange bewildered looks.)  

Act 3, Scene 1.  Antipholus E. is on the street outside his house, with Angelo, the goldsmith, and Balthasar, a merchant.  The facade of the house is at one side of the stage.  [The Director may choose to keep the inside of the house invisible to the audience so that only voices are heard “within”.  My preference, however, is to allow some space to let the audience see inside.]

Antipholus E: My wife gets angry when I’m late for lunch.–Signior Angelo, we’ll tell her that I was detained at your shop while you were making that necklace for her and it’ll be ready tomorrow.

Angelo: Yes, yes.

    (Dromio E. comes in from the side opposite the house.)

Antipholus E: Here’s that stupid servant of mine.  He made up this ridiculous story that I questioned him about a bag of gold and that I denied ever having a wife.  And he says I slapped him.

Dromio E: Well, you did.

Antipholus E: If you don’t watch out, I really will give you a beating.

Balthasar: Oh, oh!

Antipholus E: I’m sorry, Signior Balthasar.  I don’t want to spoil your lunch.  I’m really happy to entertain both of you, and I promise you a great lunch.

Balthasar: Great or otherwise, it doesn’t matter.  A warm welcome and good company are what matters.

Antipholus E: I pride myself on my hospitality.  You’ll see.–And here we are.

    (He tries to open the door, but it’s locked.)

Antipholus E: What the–?

    (He looks at Dromio E. and jerks his thumb as an instruction.  Dromio E. steps up to the door and calls.)

Dromio E: Trixie!  Bridget!  Lulu!  Marilyn!

    (Dromio S. now comes to the door, inside.  He is visible.)

Dromio S: This isn’t a whorehouse!  Go away!

Dromio E: Hey, who’s the jerk minding the door?  My master wants to come in and eat!

Dromio S: Tell him to go to a restaurant!

Antipholus E: What?–Open this door!

Dromio S: Why should I?

Antipholus E: There are four hungry men out here, that’s why!

Dromio S: We don’t feed street people!  Go to a mission!

Antipholus E: Who the hell are you keeping me out of my own house?

Dromio S: My name is Dromio.  I’m the new doorman.

Dromio E: You’re not Dromio!  You’re an impostor!  Open up!

    (He bangs on the door.  Luce, the maid, comes in beside Dromio S.)

Luce: What’s all the racket?

Dromio S: Some bums want to be fed.

Luce: Tell them to fuck off.

Dromio S. (Calling): Fuck off!

    (Antipholus E. bangs on the door.)

Antipholus E: You open this door now!

Luce (Calling): We don’t open the door to your kind!  Get lost!–This town is going to the dogs.  They should exterminate these people.

Dromio S: I agree completely.  It’s a disgrace.

Antipholus E. (Calling): Wife!  Are you in there?

    (Adriana appears, inside.)

Adriana (Calling): Your wife isn’t here, you lunatic!  Go away!

    (She leaves.)

Angelo: Oh, dear.

Balthasar: Well, it looks like lunch is off.

Antipholus E: I’m terribly sorry.  I don’t know what’s going on.  (To Dromio E.) Get a crowbar or something and we’ll break the door in.

Dromio S. (Calling): I heard that!  Don’t you dare!

Dromio E: I’ll break your head, you asshole!

Dromio S: I’ll break yours first!  Now fuck off!

Antipholus E: That does it.  We’re going to break in.  We need a crowbar.

Balthasar: No, no, no.  Don’t do that.  Not out here in broad daylight.  What will people think?

Angelo: Why is your wife angry with you?

Antipholus E: I don’t know.  I have no explanation for this.

Balthasar: I’m sure there’s a rational explanation.  You can find out later.  But for now, let’s go somewhere else and have lunch.

Antipholus E: Yes.  All right.  That’s a good idea.  Say, we could go to the Porcupine.  I know the hostess over there.  She’s a hottie, heh, heh.

Angelo: I know who you mean, heh, heh!

Antipholus E: In fact, my wife thinks I’m having an affair with her.  Which I’m not.–However (Pauses to think)–Now that I think of it, I think she ought to get that necklace instead of my wife.–Signior Angelo, could you get it from your shop?

Angelo: Sure.  My jeweller is just finishing it, but as soon as it’s finished, I can bring it to you at the Porcupine.

Antipholus E: That would be perfect.  Thank you.

Angelo: I’ll see you in a little while, then.

    (They leave separately.)

Act 3, Scene 2.  Outside, near the house of Antipholus E.  [The house will not be visible, however.] Luciana comes in with Antipholus S., who is obviously fascinated by her.

Luciana: I wish you’d be kinder to my sister.  Don’t you know she loves you?  Even if you only married her for her money, at least put on a good show of loving her.  And if you’re going to be unfaithful, keep it a secret for the sake of her feelings.–Well, say something, Antipholus.

Antipholus S. (Sighing): I think you’re–a goddess!  You’re so wise.  And beautiful!  (He seizes her hand and kisses it many times.)  You drive me crazy–you devil woman!  I want to spend the weekend between your thighs!

Luciana: What?  What are you saying?

Antipholus S: I’ve lost my mind since I came to Ephesus–but I’ve found you!

    (He tries to kiss her and grope her, and she fends him off.)

Luciana: No!  No!  This is what you should be doing with your wife!

Antipholus S: I can’t help myself!  I want to lick every square inch of your silky body!

Luciana: Oh!–Now you just calm yourself, Antipholus.  You’re not yourself today.  I’m just going inside to have a word with my sister.

    (Luciana leaves, in the direction of the house.  Antipholus S. makes exaggerated lascivious gestures and drools for the benefit of the audience.  Then Dromio S. comes in, from the direction of the house, looking frantic.)

Dromio S: Bloody hell!

Antipholus S: What’s the matter?

Dromio S: Am I, or am I not your servant, who grew up with you in Syracuse?

Antipholus S: Of course, you are.

Dromio S: Then how is it that the kitchen maid knows all the details of my body?

Antipholus S: Who does?

Dromio S: Nell.

Antipholus S: Which one is she?

    (Dromio S. describes a huge sphere with his arms.)

Antipholus S: Oh, that one.

Dromio S: Yes.  If you put a wick in her and lit it, it would burn till Doomsday.

Antipholus S: Without a doubt.

Dromio S: She knows everything about me–even (Makes a vague indication of his groin)–down there.

Antipholus S: No!

Dromio S: Yes.  And she says we’re married.

Antipholus S: Who is?

Dromio S: Me and her.  She keeps calling me husband.  I’m afraid she’s going to jump on me and squash me.

Antipholus S: Oh, dear.  These people are very strange.  I don’t know what we should do.

Dromio S: How much longer are we going to stay in Ephesus?

Antipholus S: Not long, I don’t think.  Go to the marketplace and find out if there are any ships leaving that we can get on.  If there is one, move our luggage on board and come back and get me.

Dromio S: Yes.  I will.

  (He leaves.)

Antipholus S: These people must be witches.  That Adriana says we’re married, too.–Ugh!  I can’t stand her!–But her sister–ohhh!  (He pretends to be kissing her and groping her.)  She’d be worth staying for–maybe.  But with all these crazy people, we probably ought to get out.

    (Angelo comes in.)

Angelo: Ah, there you are, master Antipholus.

Antipholus S: What?  You know my name, too?

Angelo: Ha, ha!  Of course!  You’re so funny!  That necklace took a little longer to finish than I expected, so I figured I’d be more likely to find you back home than at the inn.

Antipholus S: Oh?

Angelo: Here’s the necklace, sir.

    (He hands him the necklace.)

Antipholus S: What’s this for?

Angelo: You ordered it.

Antipholus S: I did?

Angelo: Yes.  For your wife.–Only, we know who’s really going to get it, don’t we–eh?–eh?–Nudge, nudge–wink, wink–ha, ha.

Antipholus S: Who?

    (Angelo describes a female “Coke bottle” figure with his hands.)

Angelo: The Porcupine–Eh?–Eh?–Ha, ha!

Antipholus S (Terrified): Porcupine?

Angelo: It’s all right, sir.  I’ll keep your secret.

Antipholus S. (Gasping, clutching his heart): Porcupine?–Oh!–Oh!

Angelo: You’re so funny, sir.

Antipholus S: S0–am I to pay for this now?

Angelo: No, no, no.  I’ll come over at suppertime–since your wife is apparently back to normal.  You can pay me then.  Goodbye.

    (Angelo leaves.  Antipholus S. regards the necklace.)

Antipholus S: This town is a fucking loony bin.  A witch thinks she’s married to me, a kitchen maid can see through Dromio’s underwear–and a total stranger hands me an expensive necklace.  And I have no fucking clue what that porcupine (Imitates Angelo’s Coke bottle gesture) business is all about.  Do people fuck porcupines here?–Holy shit!–Well, at least I’m ahead by one necklace, and I should quite while I’m ahead.–I’d better go to the marketplace and find out about a ship so we can get out of here.

    (He leaves.)

Act 4, Scene 1.  Second Merchant, Angelo, and an Officer come in.

Second Merchant: Look, you owe me the money since June. I haven’t bugged you about it, but now I need it because I have to go abroad on business.  So either you pay me, or you’ll have to deal with the law.  (Indicates the Officer)

Angelo: Okay, don’t worry.  You’ll get your money.  One of my customers, Antipholus, owes me for a necklace.  We can walk over to his place around dinnertime, and I’ll collect from him and pay you.

Officer: You won’t have to wait that long.  Here he comes now.

    (Antipholus E. and Dromio E. come in, returning from the Porcupine.)

Antipholus E. (Aside to Dromio E.): Listen, go to the hardware store and buy a rope.  I’m going to hang that son of a bitch doorman, whoever he is.

Dromio E: Whatever you say, boss.

    (Dromio E. leaves.)

Antipholus E. (To Angelo): Well, here you are!  I was waiting for you.  What about that necklace?

Angelo: Yes, yes.  Here’s the bill for it.  (Hands him a paper)  That’s the amount you owe me, and there are all the details of the work done.  Now if you could pay me at once, I’d appreciate it, because I have to pay this merchant for a debt I owe him.

Antipholus E: Ah.  Yes.  I don’t have the money in my pocket at the moment, and I’m just on the way to take care of some business.  Why don’t you wrap the necklace  up discreetly and take it to my house and collect the money from my wife?

Angelo: What do you mean?  I already gave you the necklace.

Antipholus E: No, you didn’t.  I waited for you at the Porcupine and you never showed up.

Angelo: But I gave you the necklace on the street, outside your house.  Now please, I need that money.

Second Merchant: Ahem!  I’m getting impatient.

Angelo: You see?  I need that money.

Antipholus E: You’ll get the money when I get the necklace.

Angelo: Oh, now please.  I thought you were an honest man.  Now come on.  I have to pay my friend here.  Do you have the money or don’t you?

Antipholus E: Where’s the necklace, then?

Angelo: I already gave it to you!

Antipholus E: No, you didn’t.

Second Merchant: Enough of this bullshit.  (To the Officer) I’m afraid you’re going to have to arrest him.

Officer: All right.  (To Angelo) Now, sir, in the name of the Duke–

Angelo: Wait!  Not me!  He’s the one you should arrest!  (Indicating Antipholus E.)  He’s the crook!  I’ll pay your fee right now, and you arrest him.

    (He gives the Officer some money.  The Officer looks at the Second Merchant for guidance, but the latter just shrugs.)

Officer (To Antipholus E.): Well, then, sir, I’m afraid I have to arrest you.

Antipholus E. (To Angelo): You’ll be sorry for this.  Word gets around in this town, you know.

Angelo: No, you’ll be sorry.  The law is on my side.

    (Dromio S. comes in.)

Dromio S: Master!  Good news!  There’s a ship from Epidamnum that leaves  tonight.  I’ve put our luggage on board like you told me.

Antipholus E: Are you crazy?  What ship?

Dromio S: Why, you sent me to find a ship that we could get away on.

Angelo: Aha!  So that’s it!

Antipholus E: I sent you to the hardware store for a rope.

Dromio S: Rope?  No.  You sent me to find a ship.

Antipholus E: You clown!  I’ll find a ship in a bottle and sail it up your ass!  Now you go straight back to my wife–

Dromio S: Your wife?  Who’s your wife?

Antipholus E: Adriana!  Your mistress!  And you give her this key (Hands him a key) and tell her to take some money out of my strongbox and bring it to the jail so I can pay my bail.  (To the Officer) All right, let’s go.

    (Everyone leaves except Dromio S., who stands there perplexed.)

Dromio S: Now he thinks Adriana is his wife.  He’s bewitched.  And the same thing could happen to me.  And then–(He gestures with his arms to describe a huge, round shape crushing him.)  Oh, God, protect me!

    (He leaves.)

Act 4, Scene 2.  In the home of Antipholus E.  Adriana and Luciana come in.

Adriana: Did he really say those things?  Did he mean it, or was he kidding?

Luciana: I don’t think he was kidding, although he was acting very strangely.

Adriana: And what did you say?  I hope you didn’t encourage him.

Luciana: Oh, no.  I took your side entirely.

Adriana: What a bastard he is!  I can’t believe it!  He’s a monster!  He’s so rotten!

Luciana: No, no, you don’t mean that.

Adriana: I say it–but I don’t mean it.  (She gets weepy.)  He’s so bad to me.

Luciana: There, there.

    (Dromio S. runs in.)

Dromio S: Quick!  The master needs money!  Right away!

Adriana: Why?  What’s the matter?

Dromio S. (Agitated): Big, evil officer!  (Does a comic walk like a monster)  Took him away!  (Does a comic impression of a person being hauled away) To jail!  (Does a comic impression of being in a cell)  It’s terrible!  What’ll they do to him?  What if they’re witches–oh, but you’re witches, too, so what does it matter?

Adriana: Will you get a grip!  What’s he in jail for?

Dromio S: He’s been arrested!

Adriana: But for what?

Dromio S: I don’t know.  But here’s the key to his strongbox.  He needs money for bail.

Luciana: I’ll get it.

    (She takes the key and leaves.)

Adriana: This is very strange.  You don’t know anything more about this?

Dromio S: Nothing whatever.

Adriana: What’s going on?  What’s he gotten himself into?  What’s he been keeping from me?

    (Luciana returns with the money in a bag.)

Adriana: Dromio, take the money to the jail and bring him back immediately.

Dromio S: I will.

    (Dromio S. takes the money and runs out.)

Adriana: This is too much for me.  I need a Valium.

     (They leave.)

Act 4, Scene 3.  On the street.  Antipholus S. comes in.

Antipholus S: This place is crazy.  Everywhere I go, people speak to me by name.  “Antipholus, here’s the money I owe you.”  “Antipholus, I can give you a good price on coal.”  “Antipholus, you want to invest in some real estate?”  “Antipholus, come for dinner next week.”  And the tailor says, “Antipholus, I have your favourite material in stock.  I can make you a nice coat.”  And I just smile and nod and say “Yes”–“Thank you”–“Of course”–“Fine.”  This town must be inhabited by witches.  That’s the only explanation.

    (Dromio S. comes in.)

Dromio S: Master!  Here’s the money for your bail?–But how come you’re out?

Antipholus S: What?

Dromio S: How did you get out?

Antipholus S: Out of where?

Dromio S: The jail, of course.  You didn’t kill the officer, did you?  He looked pretty mean.  Or did you escape?

Antipholus S: Dromio, I have no idea what you’re babbling about.  Listen, is there a ship sailing out of here that we can get on?

Dromio S: Yes.  I already told you there was.

Antipholus S: When did you tell me?

Dromio S: Just before the officer arrested you and took you to jail.  You gave me a key and told me to get money from your wife for your bail.  Here it is. 

Antipholus S. (To the audience): He’s become as crazy as everyone else.  Or is it something in the air?  A plague from space maybe?

    (The Courtesan comes in.  [This is the woman from the Porcupine.])

Courtesan: Ah, there you are, darling!

    (Antipholus S. does an elaborate double-take, in the style of Groucho Marx.)

Courtesan: When do I get that necklace you promised me?

Antipholus S: I know what you are.  You’re a witch.  Stay away from me.

Dromio S: Watch out, master!  She must be the devil’s woman!

Antipholus S: Judging from those curves, she has to be.  (To the Courtesan)  I know you’re a demon, because we don’t have women like you where I come from.

Dromio S: They pass for human, but they’re demons in disguise!  She’s the kind that lure men into sin and lust and depravity!  Do you know what I mean?

Antipholus S: Of course, I know what you mean.

Dromio S: She’ll drive a man so crazy he’ll feel like he’s got a telephone pole in his shorts.

Antipholus S: A what pole?

Dromio S: I don’t know where that came from.  She must have put it in my head.

    (The Courtesan laughs.)

Courtesan: You boys are so funny.  Come back to my place and have some dessert–chocolate devil’s food cake.

    (Dromio S. screams.)

Antipholus S: Oh, no!  I’m not messing with that stuff!

Dromio S: Please, master!  I don’t want to eat devil’s food cake!  (He starts to cry.)

Courtesan (To Antipholus S.): I gave you my pretty ring at lunch because I thought you liked me.  If you don’t like me, then give it back.  Otherwise, give me the necklace like you promised.

Dromio S: Watch out, master!  That’s how the demons take your soul!  They ask for something that belongs to you and then use it in their sorcery!  If you give her a necklace, she’ll use it to make an invisible chain and put it around your neck and drag you choking and gasping into hell, where you’ll be eaten alive by giant dogs with big fangs and flaming red eyes!

Antipholus S: I won’t ask you how you know all this.  (To the Courtesan)  No, you demon!  You’re not getting any necklace out of me!

Courtesan: Oh, but you promised.

Antipholus S: I’m not falling for any of your tricks, you–you really hot-looking demon!–Come on, Dromio, let’s get out of here!

    (He and Dromio S. flee.)

Courtesan: Well!  The nerve of that guy!  He’s got my ring, which cost me forty ducats, and he promised me a nice necklace, and now he’s breaking his promise.  And what’s all this witch crap?  I’m beginning to think he’s lost his mind.  At lunch today he told this bizarre story about how his wife locked him out of the house.  Now I think I understand what it’s about.  She locked him out because he was acting crazy.  Well, I’m going to go straight to his house and tell his wife that he took my ring from me, and she should have him locked up as a lunatic.  That’ll fix him.  I’m not going to be cheated out of a forty-ducat ring.

    (She leaves.)

Act 4, Scene 4.  In the jail.  Antipholus E. comes in with the Jailer.

Antipholus E: Don’t worry, I won’t try to escape.  My wife is going to send the money for my bail.  At least, I hope so.  She’s in a bad mood today.

    (Dromio E. comes in with a rope.)

Dromio E: The jeweller told me I’d find you here.  Here’s the rope you wanted.

Antipholus E: Rope?  You idiot!  Where’s the money?

Dromio E: What money?  Whatever I had, I spent on this rope.

Antipholus E: You spent five hundred ducats on a rope?

Dromio E: I should think not.  It only cost one ducat.  It’s quite a good rope.

Antipholus E: Good!  Now tie a noose and hang yourself!

Jailer: Now, now, sir, just you calm down.

    (Antipholus E. tries to grab Dromio E., but the Jailer restrains him.)

Dromio E. (To the Jailer): You see how he abuses me?  That’s all he ever does.  I grew up with this man.  I’ve served him all my life.  And what do I get for my loyalty?  I’m always getting smacked and yelled at.

Antipholus E: My wife’s here!–Finally!

    (Adriana, Luciana, the Courtesan, and Dr. Pinch come in.)

Dromio E: Mistress, he wants to hang me!

Antipholus E: Oh, shut up.

Courtesan (To Adriana): I told you he was crazy.

Adriana: I’m afraid I have to agree.  (To Dr. Pinch)  Dr. Pinch, you’re an exorcist.  I’ll let you handle this.

Pinch: Yes.

Antipholus E: You’re no doctor.  You’re a quack.

Pinch: There, there, sir.  Just be calm.  Give me your hand so I can take your pulse.

Antipholus E: Sure!  Take it!

    (He punches Pinch.)

Pinch: He’s possessed, all right.–Ahem!  Now, then–I command you in the name of Jesus and all the saints to leave this man at once!

    (Antipholus E. responds with a loud, elaborate Bronx cheer.) 

Adriana: Oh, my God!

Antipholus E. (To Adriana): Was he in my house today while you locked me out?  Were you plotting with him?

Adriana: Locked you out?  You were home all the time eating lunch with me.  What’s the matter with you?

Antipholus E: I didn’t eat lunch with you.  (To Dromio E.)  You speak up!  Were we locked out or not?

Dromio E: Yes.

Antipholus E: And she told us to go away.

Dromio E: Yes, she did.

Antipholus E: And her doorman, whoever he was, mocked us and threatened us, didn’t he?

Dromio E: Yes, yes.

Pinch (To Adriana): He servant is agreeing with him so he doesn’t become violent.

Adriana: Yes, of course.

Antipholus E. (To Adriana): You put the jeweller up to it, didn’t you?  You told him to arrest me.

Adriana: No.  I didn’t tell anyone to arrest you.  I sent Dromio with the bail money so you could get out of jail.

Dromio E: No, you didn’t.

Adriana: Dromio!  I gave you the money.

Luciana: Yes.  I’m a witness.

Dromio: The master sent me to buy a rope.  I don’t know anything about any bail money.

Pinch (To Adriana): I’m afraid they’re both possessed.  This is a very bad case–the worst I’ve ever seen.  There’s nothing else to do but tie them up and put them in a dark room.–Wait.

    (Pinch goes out.)

Antipholus E. (To Adriana): Why did you lock me out today?

Adriana: Husband, try to be calm.  We’re trying to help you.

Antipholus E. (To Dromio E.): Why are you saying I didn’t send you for the bail money?

Dromio E: You didn’t  But we were locked out.  I can vouch for you on that.

Adriana: Dromio, you’re a sick man.

Antipholus E: Neither one of us is sick!  This is all your doing!  This is some kind of plot to humilate me!  You always did have a nasty streak in you!

    (Pinch returns with several strong men.)

Pinch: Tie them up–those two (Indicating Antipholus E. and Dromio E.).

Jailer: Wait!

    (The men grapple with Antipholus E. and Dromio E.)

Antipholus E: Jailer!  You can’t let them!

Jailer: Stop! Stop!

Dromio E: Help!

Jailer: Stop!  You can’t!  I’m responsible for him!  If you take him, I’ll get stuck for the bail fee!

Adriana: I’ll pay the bail fee myself.  And whatever else I have to pay to get him out of trouble.–Dr. Pinch, take them to my house.

Antipholus E: You bitch!  I hate you!

Dromio E: Master, pretend you’re insane, and the court will be lenient.

Antipholus E: I won’t pretend anything!

Luciana: See?  He’s not pretending.  He really is insane.

Adriana (To Pinch): Be gentle with them.  They’re sick men.

Pinch: Yes, yes.

    (Pinch and his party of men start dragging out Antipholus E. and Dromio E.)

Dromio E: Master, are you going to reimburse me for the rope?

Antipholus E: Shut up!

    (They are dragged out.  The Jailer, Adriana, Luciana, and the Courtesan remain.)

Adriana: Who had him arrested?

Jailer: Signior Angelo, the goldsmith.

Adriana: What’s the problem?

Jailer: It seems that your husband owes him two hundred ducats for a necklace.

Adriana: Oh!–He said he was going to buy me one, but he never did.  I wonder if it’s for me–or for someone else (Giving the Courtesan a sideways look).

Courtesan: I saw him wearing it.  That was after he took my ring.

Adriana: When did you say he took your ring?

Courtesan: Today.

Adriana: And where was this?

Courtesan: At the Porcupine.

Adriana: This is all very peculiar.  I’m trying to understand–

    (Antipholus S. and Dromio S. rush in, swords drawn.)

Antipholus S (Loudly): Begone, witches!

Luciana: They’ve escaped!

Adriana: Help!

Jailer: Run for it!

    (Adriana, Luciana, the Jailer, and the Courtesan flee.)

Antipholus S: Well, they may be witches, but they’re still afraid of swords.

Dromio S: Hey, that was your so-called wife and her sister who just ran out of here.

Antipholus S: Yes.  And the devil woman, too.  God only knows what fiendish plot they’re up to.  And the jailer is in on it, too.  But never mind.  I think we’re safe here until the ship sails.  What do we have left at the Centaur that belongs to us?

Dromio S: Just a few personal things.

Antipholus S: Well, we mustn’t leave them behind.  There’s no telling what the witches would do with them.  You’ll have to go back and get the rest of our stuff.

Dromio S: I was just thinking.  If we’re safe here, we could stay another day or two.  I mean, as long as people are giving us free gold and stuff.  We’re way ahead since we got here.

Antipholus S: Fine.  They we get away with a nice profit.  But we’re getting out tonight.  Go get our stuff and put it on the ship.

Dromio S: Okay, boss.  Whatever you say.

    (Dromio S. leaves.)

Act 5, Scene 1.  Outside the abbey.  The Second Merchant and Angelo come in.

Angelo: I’m sorry you’ve been delayed, but it’s his fault.  He got the necklace from me, even though he denies it.

Second Merchant: What sort of fellow is he?  I mean, what sort of reputation does he have?

Angelo: He’s always had a good reputation.  He holds credit with everyone.  I always trusted him.

Second Merchant: Oh!–I think he’s coming.

    (Antipholus S. and Dromio S. come in.)

Angelo (To the Second Merchant): See that?  He’s wearing the necklace I made for him.  (To Antipholus S.)  I must say to you, sir, that you should be very ashamed of yourself.  You said I never gave you that necklace, and there it is.  You’ve hurt your own reputation in this town, and my friend here has been greatly inconvenienced.  Now what do you have to say for yourself?

Antipholus S: I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Yes, you gave me the necklace.  I never said you didn’t.

Second Merchant: Oh, but you did, sir.  I heard you.

Antipholus S: No, I never said any such thing.

Second Merchant: Of all the nerve!  What are you, some kind of crook?

Antipholus S: How dare you call me a crook!

Second Merchant: That’s what you are!

Antipholus S: I won’t take that from you, you liar!

Second Merchant: You’re the liar!

    (They draw their swords.  Then Adriana, Luciana, The Courtesan, the Jailer, and other men come in.)

Adriana (To the Second Merchant): No!  Don’t!  He’s a sick man!  He doesn’t know what he’s doing!  (To the men)  Take their swords.  Take them to my house.

Dromio S: Quick, master!  Into the abbey!

    (Antipholus S. and Dromio S. run inside the abbey.  Then the Abbess comes in, from the abbey.)

Abbess: What is all this commotion about?  This is an abbey, don’t you know.

Adriana: My husband and his servant just ran inside there.  We have to tie them up and take them home.

Abbess: Oh, no, no, no.  This is a sanctuary.  You can’t take people out by force.

Adriana: But my husband’s crazy.  He’s out of his mind.

Abbess: Oh?  Well, I have cured many crazy people.  I’m sure I can cure him, too.

Adriana: But, I’m his wife.  It’s my responsibility–

Abbess: Now, now, madam.  You must try to be patient.  I have very good treatments for the mentally ill.  I can do aromatherapy, herbal therapy, dance therapy, psychodrama, hallucinogenic drugs, and other things, too.  I was the one who cured the Fish Man of Smyrna.  Maybe you read about that in The Enquirer.

Adriana: No, I’m afraid not.  Now, listen, I want my husband right now.

Abbess: You are upset.  You should take a Valium.  Now please go.  Goodbye.

    (The Abbess leaves.)

Luciana: Go tell the Duke.

Adriana: Yes!  Duke Solinus!  I’m sure he’ll listen.

Second Merchant: Why, he should be here any minute.  He always comes this way about now when he takes condemned prisoners to their deaths–just behind the abbey.

Angelo: Oh?  Is someone being executed today?

Second Merchant: Yes, as a matter of fact–some merchant from Syracuse.

Angelo: Oh.  Syracuse.  That explains it.  We can watch the execution.  I generally enjoy them.

Luciana: Here he comes now.

    (The Duke comes in with Egeon, the Executioner, and Officers.)

Duke (Loudly): To all citizens of Ephesus–If anyone shall take pity on this man and pay his ransom, he shall be spared.  His ranson is set at one thousand marks.

Adriana: Please, your Grace.  I need your help.  The abbess has done me wrong.

Duke: The abbess?  Done you wrong?  I find that very hard to believe.

Adriana: You know my husband.  You were the one who introduced us.  But he’s lost his mind.  He took a ring from this lady.  He’s become a thief.  And he’s lost his memory.  And he’s deluded.  I had him and his servant tied up and taken home, but somehow they escaped.  I tried to recapture them, but then they ran into the abbey.  We want to get them out, but the abbess won’t let us.  She says it’s a sanctuary.

Duke: Ah.–Hmm.–Well, I owe your husband a debt of gratitude since he served me as a soldier once.  I certainly want to help him if I can.  I’ll ask the abbess to come out and see if we can clear this matter up.

    (A Messenger rushes in.)

Messenger: Mistress!   They’ve broken loose!  They’ve tied up Dr. Pinch!  They’re doing terrible things to him!  You must come back right now!

Adriana: No, no, they’re here in the abbey.

Messenger: No!  They’re in the house!  Your husband’s in a terrible rage!  He wants to get you!

    (Shouts are heard offstage.)

Messenger: That’s them!  They’re coming!  Run!

Duke (To Adriana): Don’t worry.  We’re armed.

    (He nods to his Officers.  Then Antipholus E. and Dromio E. rush in.)

Adriana: What!–But they were inside the abbey!

Antipholus E: Your Grace!  I appeal to you!  I’ve been wronged!  I ask for justice!

Egeon (To himself): Am I seeing things?  Or is that my son Antipholus–and Dromio?

Antipholus E: Your Grace–that evil woman–my wife–has abused me and humiliated me.

Duke: Tell me what happened.

Antipholus E: She locked me out of my own house.

Duke (To Adriana): Did you do that?

Adriana: Of course, not.  He’s deluded.  He was home eating lunch with me and my sister.

Luciana: That’s true, your Grace.

Angelo: Wait a minute.  That’s not true.–Your Grace, I was there when they locked us out.  But he has lost him mind.  That’s certainly true.

Antipholus E: So you’re in on this, too, eh?–Your Grace, believe me, I haven’t lost my mind.  There’s been a conspiracy against me.  I asked Signior Angelo to get a necklace that I ordered from his shop and meet me at the Porcupine.  He didn’t show up, so I went looking for him.  When I found him, he said he’d already given it to me, which he never did, and then he had me arrested for not paying for it.  I sent my servant to get the bail money, but he didn’t.  And then my wife showed up with that quack Dr. Pinch, and he said I was possessed.  Then they tied me and my servant up and dragged us back to the house.  But I managed to escape, and I came looking for you.  Now I’m asking for your help.

Duke: Whoa–hold on.  Let me get this straight.  (To Angelo)  Did you give him a necklace?

Angelo: Yes.  I even saw him wearing it a little while ago.

Second Merchant: That’s true.  And he even admitted receiving it.  We got into an argument and we were on the verge of a duel when he and his servant ran into the abbey.  I have no idea how they got out.

Antipholus E: That’s crazy!  I was never in the abbey, and we never had any argument or duel–and I’ve never seen the necklace.

Duke: My God, what the heck is going on here?  (To Adriana)  If he and his servant ran into the abbey, they’d still be there, wouldn’t they?  But here they are on the street.

Adriana: I can’t explain it.

Duke: And you say he’s lost his mind, but he seems rational to me.  And Signior Angelo agrees that he was locked out of the house.  (To Dromio E.)  You–servant.  What do have to say about all this?

Dromio E: We were locked out, so we went to the Porcupine, and he was eating there with the innkeeper–this lady (Indicating the Courtesan).

Courtesan: Yes.  He was.  And he snatched my ring right off my finger.

Antipholus E: I didn’t snatch it.  You gave it to me.–She exaggerates, your Grace.

Duke (To the Courtesan): Did you see him run into the abbey?

Courtesan: Absolutely.

Duke: Where’s the abbess?  (To an Officer)  Go bring the abbess.  (The Officer leaves.)–This is a confused mess.  I don’t know what to make of all this.

Egeon: Excuse me, your Grace.  I think I see someone here who will pay my ransom.

Duke: Oh?

Egeon (To Antipholus E.): You, sir.  Isn’t your name Antipholus?  And isn’t this your servant Dromio?

Antipholus E. and Dromio E: Yes.

Egeon: Then you must remember me.

Antipholus E: I’m afraid not.  I’ve never seen you before.

Egeon: Have I changed so much that you don’t recognize me?

Antipholus E: I don’t know you, sir.

Dromio E: Me neither.

Egeon: Look closer.  Ignore the white beard and the wrinkles.  Come on.  Look.

    (A pause while they look  closely.  Then they shrug and shake their heads.)

Egeon: Antipholus–I’m your father!

Antipholus E: Sir, I never met my father.

Egeon: I raised you and Dromio in Syracuse.

Antipholus E: Why, I’ve never been to Syracuse in my life.

Duke: That’s right.  I know this man.  He’s never been to Syracuse.  I think you’re losing your wits, old man.

    (The Officer returns with the Abbess, along with Antipholus S. and Dromio S.)

Abbess: Your Grace, here’s the poor man who’s been so–Oh!

    (A pause of stunned silence while everyone looks at the two pairs of twins.)

Adriana: Either my eyes are going, or I see two husbands–and two servants.

Duke: One of each must be real and the other must be a spirit double.  But which is which?

Dromio S: Well, I know I’m real–but I’m not so sure about this guy (Indicating Dromio E.).–Take off, dude.

Dromio E: No, you take off–hoser.  I’m Dromio.

    (Antipholus S. looks fixedly at Egeon.)

Antipholus S: Father?–Is it really you?

Dromio S: Oh!  It is!  Egeon!–But why are you tied up?

Abbess: Egeon!  Egeon!   My husband!

Egeon: Emilia?–Emilia!

Duke (To an Officer): Untie him.

    (The Officer unties Egeon, who embraces his wife.)

Egeon (To the Duke): This is my wife.  And these are my twins.  And these are the poor twins we adopted.  I didn’t know if any of them were still alive.

Dromio S. and Dromio E: Brother! 

    (They embrace.)

Duke (To Egeon): Now your story makes sense.  Twin sons named Antipholus and twin servants named Dromio.

Egeon: Emilia, what happened to you after the storm?

Abbess: We were picked up by a boat from Epidamnum, and then a pirate ship from Corinth–

Duke (To the audience): Told ya!  Suddenly a pirate ship loomed on the horizon.

Abbess: And the pirates kidnapped Antipholus and Dromio, and I never saw them again.  And as for me, chance brought me to Ephesus and I hid myself away in the abbey to forget about my sorrows and the outside world.

Duke (To Antipholus S.): Antipholus, you came from Corinth, didn’t you?

Antipholus E: No, I came from Corinth.

Antipholus S: And I came from Syracuse.

Dromio S: And I came with him–that is, him (Indicating Antipholus S.).

Dromio E: And he’s my master (Indicating Antipholus E.).

Antipholus E. (To the Duke): It was your uncle, Duke Menaphon, who wiped out the pirates and brought us to Ephesus.

Adriana: Then who had lunch with me today?

Antipholus S: Um–I did.

Adriana: So you’re not my husband.

Antipholus S: No, madam.–However–(He takes Luciana by the hand.)  I will gladly be your brother-in-law.

Luciana (Sighing): Oh!–I do.

Angelo: That’s the necklace.

Antipholus S: Uh–right.

Antipholus E: Oh, God–and you thought–and I thought–and I got arrested because–

Angelo: Oh, dear.  Sorry about that.

Adriana: And which Dromio did I give the bail money to?

Dromio S: You gave it to me, madam.  And I gave it to him (Indicating Antipholus S.).

Antipholus S: Yes.  Here it is.

    (He takes out the bag.)

Antipholus E: And that’s going to pay for my father’s ransom.

Duke: Forget it.  He’s forgiven.  Keep it.

Courtesan: Ahem!–Someone has my ring.

Antipholus E: Yes, yes.  You can have it back.

Courtesan: No, on second thought, you can keep it.  You’ll hire me to cater the wedding and I’ll make it back in trade.

Adriana: And what about the necklace?  Who gets that?

    (Antipholus E. looks at his twin and points to Adriana.)

Antipholus S: Right.

    (He gives her the necklace.)

Abbess: Your Grace–everyone–let’s all go in the abbey and give thanks and celebrate.

Duke: Great idea.  And you can break out the good stuff, which I know you have in the cellar.

Antipholus S: Oh!  Almost forgot.  Our stuff is on that ship.–Dromio, you’ll have to unload our stuff before that ship leaves.  We’re staying.

Dromio S: What about all the witches?

Antipholus S. (Looking lovingly into Luciana’s eyes): Oh, they’re not so bad.

    (Everyone leaves, into the abbey, except the two Dromios.)

Dromio S: Brother, you have a very fat wife.  I was afraid she was going to squash me.

Dromio E: You’ll have to wear something so she can tell us apart.

Dromio S: Well, that’s all right when we’re dressed.  But what about when we’re undressed?  We look exactly alike.

Dromio E: You can wear a pink ribbon.

Dromio S: I’m not putting any pink ribbon in my hair.

Dromio E: I wasn’t referring to your hair.

    (Pause.  Dromio S. looks down at his crotch.)

Dromio E: Unless, of course, you want to risk being squashed.

    (Dromio S. looks at the audience with a twisted smile.  Then the twins leave, into the abbey.)


    Copyright@ 2011 by Crad Kilodney.  E-mail:


2 Responses to “Shakespeare For White Trash: The Comedy of Errors”

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    • cradkilodney Says:

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